Tuesday, November 29, 2016

School Budget Proposal Brings Needed Relief

By Kathleen Vinehout

"Over the past four years, we have seen an increased reliance on referenda to keep the lights on,” State Superintendent Tony Evers announced as he released his school budget proposal. 

“Around the state, local communities took the lead on funding reform through the ballot box, but the state has to be a good partner and do our share to help small town schools.”

Indeed. This year, Wisconsinites passed a record number of school referenda.

In the recent election, 82% of school referenda passed. Over the last four years, citizens in more than half of Wisconsin’s school districts voted to raise their property taxes to pay for schools.

Why? Because state spending for public schools this year is less than it was eight years ago, according to the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau. This does not include public spending for the variety of private school options.

Mr. Evers created a blueprint to fix the funding of local schools. No district in the state will be hurt by his plan.

He proposes repairing the historic budget cuts of the past few years, including cuts to a special aid I added to the school formula in 2007 known as sparsity. The proposal would expand the number of rural districts eligible for sparsity aid. 

The plan provides grants to assist in recruiting and retaining rural teachers. Wisconsin is awash with stories of rural schools struggling to find and keep teachers.

Many rural superintendents point to the impact of transportation costs on their budgets, noting the state pays less than a tenth of the cost of bringing students to and from school. This leaves rural students with fewer resources to learn, as more of the school’s budget goes to fuel and buses.

Mr. Evers addresses this problem in two ways: by increasing funds for transporting students over 12 miles away and by helping schools with unusually high busing costs. 

Childhood poverty increased dramatically statewide over the past ten years. Teachers share stories of bringing extra food and clothing for students in need. However, the needs go beyond the physical. Children living in poverty can succeed but they need extra support from the school.

Mr. Evers’ budget recommendation provides extra support by adding a new poverty factor to the general aid formula. This change will assist many rural districts hurt by the current funding formula, which equates wealth with property value instead of income. Rural districts in tourist areas suffered for many years. Pepin, for example, last year received only $1,381 per student in general school aid.

As Mr. Evers’ budget reads: “The State Superintendent believes that property value alone is no longer an adequate measure for the ability to pay, as it doesn’t serve areas with high-priced vacation homes and large populations of year-round residents that live in poverty. The State Superintendent believes that local family income should also be a factor in measuring a district’s ‘wealth’ in determining the distribution of state general equalization aid.”

In addition to accounting for income, Mr. Evers proposes raising the general aid minimum to $3,000 for every student. 

Creating a minimum aid for all districts will reduce the need for low-aided districts to ask voters to raise their property taxes through referenda. Equally important the new plan adds an inflationary increase in state funds available to schools districts to keep up with rising costs.

Another problem facing a majority of school districts is declining enrollment. The loss of students translates to a loss of state aid. Many small rural schools are losing students faster than the district can cut costs. Mr. Evers makes several changes that ease the impact of declining enrollment.

Mr. Evers offers many other changes in the way Wisconsin pays for schools, including aids to schools with a high number of English Language Learners, like Arcadia whose elementary school enrolls over 70% ELL students. He assists students struggling with mental health challenges, which he estimates effects one in five students.

I am encouraged by Mr. Evers’ thoughtful and comprehensive proposal. His blueprint for Wisconsin schools gives every child, regardless of background or zip code, an opportunity to succeed.

We now need our governor and legislators to share the same goal and pass Mr. Evers’ 2017-19 biennial budget for schools.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Clarke To Interview With Trump On Monday

Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke is supposed to be interviewing with Donald Trump on Monday, presumably to be the head of Homeland Security.

Clarke probably has a pretty good shot at it. He'e been a very vocal supporter for Trump for several months and had spent several weeks traveling the country actively campaigning for Trump when he wasn't busy licking Trump's boots.

Clarke has also shown a compatible disregard, if not pure hatred of minorities, including his fellow African Americans. He has repeated ripped into the Black Lives Matter movement. He has allowed four people to die in his jail, including a newborn baby, as he's been campaigning for Trump. And Clarke's been detaining undocumented immigrants as fast as he can, holding them indefinitely and trying to cover it up.

Clarke even fits Trump's desire for "idea men" by having a plan that is in sync with Trump's stance towards immigration:
In his upcoming memoir, Clarke has called for an overhaul of the nation's homeland security program, writing that American citizens suspected of being terrorists should be treated as "enemy combatants" who can be questioned without an attorney, arrested by authorities and held indefinitely.

Their cases would then be handled by military tribunals, not the traditional court system.

"We are at war. Homegrown radicalization has the enemy inside our borders," Clarke writes. "Islamist radicalized Americans are not criminals; they are enemy combatants."
Even though Clarke has a fairly good chance, as a Milwaukeean, I hope he doesn't get the job.

Oh sure, my first instinct is to hope he does so that we would be rid of Clarke once and for all. Even though Clarke has been running as a Democrat, he is in no way imaginable a Democrat. And despite all of Clarke's faults and blunders, the Democratic Party has not been able to successfully primary him.

But that would be the only thing listed in the plus column. But even that one positive could turn out to be a negative. If Trump were to leave Milwaukee County before the next election, Scott Walker would be the person to appoint his successor. It could easily turn into a situation of going from the frying pan into the fire.

I would never wish Clarke to be given even more authority, on a national stage, to act the fool that he is. Next to Trump himself, Clarke would be the most likely to cause an international incident due to his ignorance and immaturity.

The only best case scenario would be for Trump to actually do one thing right and decide against Clarke and then for Clarke's home away from home, Faux Newz, to give him a full time gig. That way we would be rid of him and the only people he could hurt would be those foolish enough to watch him in the first place.

But the way that 2016 has been going, that is simply too much to even wish for.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Open Thread - Popcorn Turkey

Thanksgiving Day is one of those days steeped in tradition. Families across the country gather to feed on the same old same old - turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie.

But for us in Casa de Capper, things are different now, and not just in the political sense. Our immediate families on both sides are gone to their final resting places now and we moved to a new house. We also got ourselves a new pup, Beau the Handsome.

With so many changes in our everyday life, we decided to make other changes, ending some traditions, bringing back some old ones and starting some new ones of our own.

One tradition that I've done for nine years now is sharing the recipe for Popcorn Turkey, so here ya go:
Here is a Thanksgiving Turkey recipe that also includes the use of popcorn as a stuffing - imagine that.

When I found this recipe, I thought it was perfect for people like me, who just are not sure how to tell when poultry is thoroughly cooked, but not dried out. Give this a try.


10-12 lb. Turkey
1 cup melted butter
1 cup stuffing (Pepperidge Farm is good.)
5 cups uncooked popcorn (ORVILLE REDENBACHER 'S LOW FAT)
Salt/pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush Turkey well with melted butter, salt, and pepper. Fill cavity with stuffing and popcorn. Place in baking pan with the neck end toward the back of the oven.Listen for the popping sounds. When the turkey's ass blows the oven door open and flies across the room, it's done.

Imagine the look on your loved ones' faces as you show off your culinary skills.
It's also good for making sure that you don't have to cook another holiday meal for years to come.

So, what traditions are new for you?

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Scott Walker - Financial Dilettante

By Jeff Simpson

Today Scott Walker tweeted this:

 Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin (R) is in some serious debt.National Journal's Shane Goldmacher reported Monday that new federal financial documents showed that Walker had credit-card debts totaling more than $20,000 from two separate cards.
The personal financial disclosure forms filed with the Federal Election Commission also revealed that Walker owed another $100,000 in student-loan debt for his children.
One of the debts is via Barclays and is estimated to be between $10,000 and $15,000. The interest rate on the debt is 27.24%.
The other credit-card debt is via Bank of America from 2011. On that debt, Walker also owes between $10,000 and $15,000, with an interest rate of 11.99%.
Walker's assets, by comparison, are not substantial. In the documents, he listed six investments totaling between $1,000 and $15,000, a life-insurance policy, and a deferred compensation plan.
This isn't the first time Walker has reportedly been in debt. The Daily Beast and The Boston Globe both reported back in April that Walker owed Sears up to $50,000 in credit-card debt.

Who the hell buys $50,000 worth of crap from Sears?   Seriously?  
Facing an estimated $1 million in debt from his failed presidential campaign, Gov. Scott Walker is now soliciting donations to pay it off.
The Wisconsin governor dropped out of the 2016 presidential race in September, and campaign finance reports released last month showed his short-lived campaign raised $7.4 million but spent money as quickly as it came. Those reports showed the campaign burned through about $90,000 a day, in part due to exorbitant salaries paid to a massive staff.
Wisconsin state revenues are projected to fall $693 million short of what state agencies have requested for the 2017-19 budget, Gov. Scott Walker's administration said Monday.

Maybe, just maybe, Scott Walker is not the person we want to be getting financial advice from.

As a matter of fact, as Capper pointed out before, Mr. Walker is not someone we want to be getting Christmas List advice for the kids from either!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Victory Lapse


By Jeff Simpson 

Hillary Clinton just finished what could be one of the most epic, incompetent, political campaigns in History.  One of the more controversial things that the Hillary Campaign did was enter into "fundraising" agreements with numerous state parties called the Hillary Victory Fund.  

There was much concern and outrage amongst people who were not party insiders. From local media, to the Bernie Sanders campaign, realized something was wrong and started questioning.   This did not lead to the campaign rethinking what they were doing, but instead banded together with the DNC leadership to attack Bernie Sanders personally.  

With a massive disinformation campaign, mixed with personal attacks on the most vociferous the fervor was brought to a slow simmer.   In Wisconsin, Martha Laning DNC chair, felt the need to issue a statement: 

From Martha Laning, chair of the DPW, for an explanation. A number of incorrect stories and blogs have been posted about our participation in a fundraising Victory Fund – and it is very important to me that we correct the record.Last year, the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, along with 32 other state parties, entered into a joint finance agreement with the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign to raise funds that help to support state parties and Democratic candidates in 2016. We have offered, and would gladly partner with Sen. Sanders as well if he is interested in creating a similar joint fundraising agreement. These funds have helped us to maintain a top-notch state voter file, work with the DNC to combat the effects of Photo ID, hire critical coordinated campaign staff, and begin to build the infrastructure for our turnout efforts in the fall. These funds are not being used to support any one particular presidential candidate, and in fact, by helping to update our data and address legal issues around Photo ID, they are helping all candidates in Wisconsin.
Much has also been made about us sharing portions of these funds with the DNC. The DPW regularly partners with the DNC on a wide range of projects and efforts. In fact, over the last two years the DPW has received nearly $200,000 from the DNC to help us build our state party infrastructure. We will continue to work with both campaigns, and with the DNC to do everything we can to support our great Democratic candidates up and down the ballot in 2016, and beyond.
If you have any questions about this, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
If you would like to contact either Martha or Kory, below is their contact info:
Chair Martha Laning: info@wisdems.org; (608) 255-5172
Executive Director Kory Kozloski: koryk@wisdems.org; (608) 255-5172
Much has also been made about us sharing portions of these funds with the DNC. The DPW regularly partners with the DNC on a wide range of projects and efforts. In fact, over the last two years the DPW has received nearly $200,000 from the DNC to help us build our state party infrastructure. We will continue to work with both campaigns, and with the DNC to do everything we can to support our great Democratic candidates up and down the ballot in 2016, and beyond.If you have any questions about this, please don’t hesitate to contact me.If you would like to contact either Martha or Kory, below is their contact info:Chair Martha Laning: info@wisdems.org; (608) 255-5172Executive Director Kory Kozloski: koryk@wisdems.org; (608) 255-5172

Unfortunately, using hindsight, that did not turn out to be the case.  It turns out the partnership was not much of a partnership after all.  Especially in major battleground states, that used to be solidly blue and turned a dark shade of red.     

As we see from Huffington Post

A similar situation unfolded in Wisconsin. According to several operatives there, the campaign’s state office and local officials scrambled to raise nearly $1 million for efforts to get out the vote in the closing weeks. Brooklyn headquarters had balked at funding it themselves, arguing that the state already had a decent-sized footprintbecause of the labor-backed super PAC For Our Future and pointing out that Clinton had never trailed in a single poll in Wisconsin.The campaign’s state office argued additionally for prominent African-American surrogates to help in Milwaukee. “There are only so many times you can get folks excited about Chelsea Clinton,” explained one Wisconsin Democrat. But President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama didn’t come. Nor did Hillary Clinton after the July Democratic convention. She would go on to lose the state, hampered by lower turnout in precisely the place that had operatives worried. Clinton got 289,000 votes in Milwaukee County compared to the 328,000 that Obama won in 2012.“They had staff on the ground and lots of volunteers, but they weren’t running a massive program because they thought they were up 6-7 points,” said the aforementioned senior battleground state operative.In politics, much like anything else, victory has a thousand fathers and defeat is an orphan. A senior official from Clinton’s campaign noted that they did have a large staff presence in Michigan and Wisconsin (200 and 180 people respectively) while also stressing that one of the reasons they didn’t do more was, in part, because of psychological games they were playing with the Trump campaign. They recognized that Michigan, for example, was a vulnerable state and felt that if they could keep Trump away ― by acting overly confident about their chances ― they would win it by a small margin and with a marginal resource allocation.
A strategy of winning by a small margin, shows how their first, last and middle priorities were winning the Presidency for Hillary Clinton and the down ballot and Senatorial races were never a priority.  

But wait there is more!

There was incredible incompetence from the Top.   Chuck Schumer, who was recently named Senate Majority Leader. came up with this strategy:

 Back in July Chuck Schumer summed it up: “For every blue-collar Democrat we lose in western Pennsylvania, we will pick up two moderate Republicans in the suburbs in Philadelphia, and you can repeat that in Ohio and Illinois and Wisconsin.”From this theory and strategy flowed a deeply flawed set of tactics, and a badly fumbled get-out-the-vote (GOTV) effort.
Or not!  Hard working Democrats all over the country, gave money they did not have, and valuable time to the Democratic Party to have them ignore the working class, and focus on Republicans.   Now they have less money, no protections and a more solidly Republican Government than ever before in their lifetime.   At least Chuck Schumer got a promotion.   

It was not just there, it was the political guru's and consultants who know more than the local grass roots.   In Wisconsin, former Executive Director of the WISDEMS, Jake Hadju, who helped oversee three straight losing elections, was in charge of the Hillary campaign here. His superior efforts, along with the Hillary "Victory" fund and help from the ADCC and SDCC led us to a drubbing at the hands of the WISGOP.    

However, incompetence at the top is not unique to WI(emphasis mine):

Writing in the Huffington Post last week, Becky Bond and Zack Exley, both veterans of the Sanders campaign, noted: “Volunteers for the Clinton campaign in Pennsylvania, Ohio and North Carolina,” working from computer-generated lists, “have reported that when reminding people to vote, they encountered a significant number of Trump voters. Anecdotal evidence points to anywhere from 5 to 25 percent of contacts [being] inadvertently targeted to Trump supporters.”
So much for those brainiac, glued-to-the-screen whiz kids. They lacked nouse, street smarts, soul, real-world experience, a grip on reality.
Another thing not unique to Wisconsin, is that the Democrats like to blame everyone but themselves when they lose yet another election.    

In his first remarks since WikiLeaks began releasing thousands of his hacked emails, John D. Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, said Tuesday that Russian intelligence officials intent on swaying the election to Donald J. Trump had been responsible for the illegal breach into his account.
“I’ve been involved in politics for nearly five decades,” Mr. Podesta told reporters aboard the Clinton campaign plane. “This definitely is the first campaign that I’ve been involved with in which I’ve had to tangle with Russian intelligence agencies,” he added, “who seem to be doing everything that they can on behalf of our opponent.”
Without verifying the authenticity of the emails, Mr. Podesta said that he had spoken with the F.B.I. “as a victim” of hacking.
About Poor Mr. Podesta's victimhood:

But what we do know, thanks to digital forensics of the hacked emails, is that Podesta clicked twice on a not-so-sophisticated fishing email asking for his password. We also know from the same emails that John Podesta lost his cellphone in a taxi on January 19, 2015; and that his password was “p@ssword.”
With leadership like that, the rest makes sense.
While Christian Parenti, came to this conclusion about the Hillary Clinton campaign, it could easily be applied to the DNC, and the WISDEMS, the ADCC and the SDCC.   

A point for the Left in all this: the DNC’s ideas are not only bad because they don’t advocate the social-democratic redistribution we would like to see — they are also bad because they don’t work at a purely technical level.
Their arrogance and contempt for the working class produced a flawed political theory, which in turn produced a bad strategy, which in turn produced a tactically inept ground game.
Too busy congratulating themselves and concurring with each other, the Clintonites couldn’t even get the rudiments of the campaign correct.

The question now is, where do we go from here?  Did we learn anything from the Hillary Victory Fund and how they played the state parties like a fiddle?  Have we learned that there are too many careerist in politics who care more about their next paycheck than winning an election.   That just because your dad/mom have been in politics, give big money or are famous, does not mean that you have the competence to win an election.   Will the Democratic party learn from their mistakes and start standing up for the middle class and the working poor in this country?   

If the two weeks since the election are any indication, the answer is no.   We have yet to see a single resignation from the DNC or the WISDEMS, or anyone to take even a semblance of  responsibility for the massive losses on election day.  There has been enough of passing the bucks in the last two weeks, to fill Gringots.    

As Peter Barca made clear recently, elections only have consequences for some of us!  

For the rest of us though, who will be fighting and suffering from GOP policies for the next few years, it is time for us to start taking 2018 seriously.   The work to win the next three elections starts now.

I know its a small club, and people like to not let outsiders in, and give each other jobs but things have advanced beyond the small club pettiness we have witnessed the last six years.   

We need to get people on board or out of the way.  It needs to happen now!  

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Wisconsin's Own Fake News

By Jeff Simpson

David Haynes, the editorial page editor at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, has had a problem with fake news on the internet lately.  

Honestly, people are definitely dumber. They just keep passing stuff around. Nobody fact-checks anything anymore — I mean, that’s how Trump got elected. He just said whatever he wanted, and people believed everything, and when the things he said turned out not to be true, people didn’t care because they’d already accepted it. It’s real scary. I’ve never seen anything like it.

While I agree with Mr. Haynes, that fake news(beyond the onion) really does not help anyone and is partly to blame for the horrendous politicians we keep electing.   

However, the editorial page editor of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, has never once addressed this, which happened under his watch:

Although to say Mr. Haynes has never addressed this, is not exactly right.    He promoted Schneider from blogger to "columnist" shortly after he posted this.   I would supply the link, but JSONLINE scrubbed it from their website without a word.

You can however read more about the Schneider fake news incident here and here.

Some fake news is better than other fake news apparently!

In case you are so inclined you can reach Mr. Haynes here:

Email: david.haynes@jrn.com. Twitter: @DavidDHaynes

Christian Schneider can be reached at:

 Email cschneider@jrn.com. Twitter: @Schneider_CM

Mike Pence Gets More Than A Performance

By Jeff Simpson

Vice President Elect Mike Pence, took time out of trying not to piss The Donald off, and attended the Musical Hamilton.   When the show was over. the full cast used their curtain call to deliver a message to the soon to be VP:

There are seasons in every country when noise and impudence pass current for worth; and in popular commotions especially, the clamors of interested and factious men are often mistaken for patriotism. Alexander Hamilton

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Look Over Here!

By Jeff Simpson 

By now, everyone knows what a bad night it was for Democrats in the Nation and especially Wisconsin.   The Democrats had high priced consultants, lots of money, some excellent candidates and still ended up taking a beating.   For some reason, which we have already discussed here, the Dems could not seem to connect with the voters.

Instead of high priced consultants and a professional political class who are pointing fingers elsewhere, the actual answer is right in front of them.

Another story of the election day, was that the voters all over Wisconsin reaffirmed their support for public schools.   While Democrats up and down the ballot were getting defined as tax and spend liberals and losing their elections handily, local school districts were asking for almost a billion dollars from the taxpayers of WI.  In Most instances the people said a resounding YES!

School districts asked voters to endorse nearly $700 million in borrowing for new construction and building updates, and more than $150 million in increases in school district budgets — dollar amounts that were the largest put before voters at the annual spring election going back at least a decade. (For more on that, read our blog post from last week)
Voters approved 55 of the 71 referendums on the ballot, including $492 million in borrowing for building upgrades and construction projects, $128 million to expand school district budgets for a set amount of time, and $10 million to expand school budgets on a recurring basis.

I know, because we passed one in April, what goes into them.  It is not tens of thousands of dollars, high priced consultants and dictating from the state above.   What passes these referendums, is citizen committees, community meetings, defined jobs, a clear plan, understanding your opponents and a clear concise message.  

That is what is going to take our Legislature back, community organizing, discussions, engagement and a concise, consistent message that is told by every candidate from Superior to Footville.  

Then we can start to see even the gerrymandered districts turn!  

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

We Have It In Our Power To Begin Wisconsin Over Again

By Jeff Simpson

In every election as far back as I can remember, the party in power gets smoked in the mid-terms.  For Wisconsinites, the timing could not be better.   The 2018 election will be much more important than the beating the Democrats took last night.   The work for that needs to begin today,  but first we need some housekeeping and lessons from the election of 2016(from a Wisconsin point of view). 

1.  The old rules of how to campaign, win elections etc... all got thrown out the window this year.  While normal candidates, by the book, spent thousands on polling(more on this later), the Donald spent more on hats than he did polling.   The Donald had no real ground game, fought with everyone and spent most of his energy attacking anyone who criticized him, yet was the first Republican to win WI since Ronnie.

2.  There NEEDS to be accountability.   We have zero power now to make change, but we have all of the power to demand change.   There needs to be resignations and they need to come yesterday.   I would recommend we start with Martha Laning, Kory Kozlowski and whoever the head of research for the party is because he/she apparently had no idea that many people were running for office on the Dem Ticket.   We need to continue on and get new leadership in the State Senate and Assembly.   Jen Shilling and Peter Barca need to step down from their "lack of " leadership positions.

3. I recommend that David Bowen take over the party for the next year and he hire Mandela Barnes as Executive Director.   Then Mandela can decide after a year if he wants to run for office again or take over the WISDEMS.  One way or another, Mandela Barnes is part of the future of our party.    I also recommend that Kathleen Vinehout be Senate Minority leader and that Katrina Shankland be Assembly Democratic Leader with Jonathon Brostoff as her assistant.    Fresh leadership is desperatly needed!  

4.  Anyone who tells you that Bernie would not have done better against The Donald is just trying to cover up their own incompetence and lack of understanding of the election process and the Wisconsin electorates, so please take what they say with a huge grain of sand!  

5.  We need to have all of the super delegates, understand their role in the massive losses that we sustained in Wisconsin.   Bernie was a huge favorite, won Wisconsin primary handily, and yet all but David Bowen used their super delegate vote for HRC.  Wisconsinites who supported Bernie were contacting them to advocate for their candidate, some of the SD's were reprinting their letters and openly mocking them on social media.   

David Bowen, Mark Pocan, Gwen Moore, Ron Kind, Tammy Baldwin, Martha Laning, Jason Rae, Christine Bremer Muggli, Martha Love and Michael Childers.   

 6.  The old saying of "Don't mourn, Organize" is becoming passe' and needs to be edited to say "Don't mourn, talk".   I understand that everyone needs a little time to let the loss sink in but do not withdraw.   I see lots of my liberal/progressive friends on social media unfriending their Trump supporting friends and family members.  Stop it!

I have no problem criticizing our elected officials who are bigoted, anti education, racist and just plain dumb.  Keep that up, but their supporters are a different story.  We need to dialogue with them, try and understand them, see where they are coming from.  how they got there. and what you have in common.  Help them see the same things about you.   A big problem is we have put ourselves in a little bubble and only hear and see what we want too.   That happens on both sides (see News Fox) and we need to find ways to step outside our bubble and into theirs and vice versa.    

So Don't mourn, engage!    

7.  Find a spot for Mandy Wright.  Like Mandela Barnes, Mandy Wright also needs to be the future of the party!   

8.  Lets stop pretending that Charles Franklin and Nate Silver are heroes, guru's, experts or geniuses.  It is time to recognize that the anonymous opinion of a thousand people does not speak for 5 million others.   Polls are fine and they are good to know some information, but like a standardized test in public schools, tell us just a small frame of a feature film.   

9.  Who is the base of the Democratic Party?  As a former industrial, heavily unionized, blue state, the economy is not working for many many people.  With Gatt, NAFTA, WTO, And now the TPP, states like Wisconsin have been crushed economically.

Why have we allowed someone like Scott Walker to divide and conquer?  Because there is no champion to unite us.   No person to acknowledge the fact that we have lost jobs, that poverty is going up and so are incomes of the upper class.  No one to acknowledge that people are working two jobs and losing their homes.   No one to acknowledge that attacking public workers for having health insurance while we allow our politicians to give millions of our tax dollars to their friends no questions asked is hurting our state.  

That is what made Bernie so popular in WI(he won 71/72 counties) and elsewhere.   He spoke to the people that needed a champion.  He spoke directly to them and told them he gets it and understand their pain and the importance of fixing it.     

The people of Wisconsin, and elsewhere, are desperate not only for a populist message but a sincere populist message.    If you can filter out the racism, sexism, bigotry, etc... (and many people could) the message that Trump was saying was a populist message,   He told the people that he understood that they are losing their jobs to Mexico and China etc...  He let them know that he understood that we need jobs in America and that if you elect him the jobs will come back.    Ignoring the fact that the messenger was incredibly hypocritical, and the part of the problem, but the message resonated.   

10.   The Dem party, which includes the party apparatchik, made many mistakes throughout.   
          A. This is the first election in memory where the candidate did not make an appearance in the final days before the election.   Great idea.  

          B.  Hillary did send many surrogates here (Bernie Sanders, Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren) and every time, they gave speeches to a solid crowd of Democrats and not once, did local/statewide candidates get a chance to share the stage and introduce themselves.   Now when we start looking at the next election, we get to hear how so many Democrats do not have "name recognition". 

          C.  Statewide Dems, who had a chance to get on a bigger stage, never once did they start naming names and talking about winning.   For instance, Mark Pocan was on Mike Gousha show and when asked about Paul Ryan working with The Donald, never once even mention the fact that Ryan Solen was running against him and he had to win his election first.   

11.  We need to identify who the base actually is.   It should be a big tent party where we bring in and appeal to everyone from the white working class to the minorities to the CEO's to the people in poverty.  If you follow politics, really follow politics, you know that many Trump/Walker supporters should be voting Democratic...so why aren't they

12.   There is a whole professional political class, that moves from one inside job to another and they are destroying our state.   The consultant class is consulting our state into a bright bright shade of red. For instance: 
 *  As Nation Consulting owns writes:  2. THERE IS NO SILVER BULLET. This is not the case of one thing going wrong. If you think nominating Bernie changes this 180 degrees, no. If you think more money changes this, no. If you think only racism or sexism or bigotry explains this, no. If you think only economics or culture explains this, no. If you think any one thing being different is the solution, no. A clusterfuck of this proportion only happens when many, many things go wrong. So take your simplistic answers and shove them.
It is not simple but if you think nominating Bernie would not have made a difference then you can take your simplistic understanding of the WI electorate and shove it! Of course a shill for Hillary would downplay the importance of the vast majority of Wisconsinites.

* Former Mary Burke team member, Joe Zepecki(who handled the press operations for Burke, on what might be the worse press operation campaign in history), who was given numerous chances on news talk shows to "speak for the Democrats", was also given the keys to a multi million dollar Super PAC (For Our Future Fund), which focused on community organizing, was based in Milwaukee. The lower turnout in Milwaukee was the difference in helping the Donald win WI and the Presidency.

Looking at some numbers (not sure what they mean, except turnout matters). (Assuming the results are all in) Clinton had similar margins of victory as Obama in Milwaukee County (66% to 29% vs 67% to 32%; 162,895 more votes in 2016 vs 169,660 in 2012). However, Obama collected 39,104 more total votes in Milwaukee County. Trump's statewide margin of victory was 26,788.

*  Many statewide candidates hired a company from Chicago called The Strategy Group.  Apparently this group of high priced political consultants from Chicago, most of whom were from the Coasts and Washington DC, were the perfect group to tell us how to win in Ladysmith, Winter and Oconto.    Of course right up until election day when they cash their checks, head home and their candidates get their hats handed to them.  

13.   The party insiders need to get over themselves and take a long hard look in the mirror.  Wisconsin was a blue state until Mike Tate and his crew took over and now we are a bright red state.   Members of his team turned that kind of success into other jobs, like Jake Hadju, who ran Hillary's operations in WI( the first time since 1984 that a Republican won our state).  

Many of the team are outright hostile to people who are not members of the party or have criticisms.  Which leads to divisions in the party and Republican landslides.   If they want to continue in their old habits, then they need to find a new career.  If they are willing to acknowledge that their way has not worked in years then lets all work together and change this state back to blue! 

14. Do not be a party of the Republicans suck, be a party of telling stories and holding Republicans accountable.   For example, in the last week before the election, Paul Ryan had someone yell at his GOTV rally "Where is Lee Harvey Oswald when you need him?" and Paul Ryan completely ignored it.  So did the media and the Democratic party.   What would have happened if someone yelled that about Scott Walker at a Democratic GOTV rally? 

15.   Finally, we need some people to start running for Governor now.   Lets get name recognition and message fine tuned soon.  We need to let the Republicans attack them now, and make the hard core criticisms old news by election season!  

Extra Credit:   Make Alan Grayson head of the Democratic National Committee! 

We can do this.  2018 can bring a new day but we need to work together and we need to start now! 

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Paul Tittl's Odorless, Colorless Deadly Gun

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By Jeff Simpson

Recently, 17 people got seriously ill who were in a building owned by Paul Tittl(R-AFC) in the 25th Assembly district.

Mr. Tittl, seems to have decided to save himself $20 and not put detectors in his building.

That then led directly to this:

Does anyone know anything more about the carbon monoxide poisoning on Washington Street that happened last week? Like, were there any fatalities? Are there charges against the owner of the buildings? My friend lived in the apartment complex on Washington and has been in ICU in Milwaukee on a respirator for the past week. He is still unresponsive.
Of course he was fiend before for not having any detectors and having a faulty furnace!

When someone keeps up their buildings like this, what would you expect?

 I would say an unusable window would be a perfect parable, for the party of lawmakers(WISGOP) that refuse to follow the law, but then I came across this picture which actually says everything!

Nuff Said!

If you have not voted today, please do.   If you live in Manitowoc area please head to the polls and vote for Ron Kossik!  

When Did This Become Acceptable?

By Jeff Simpson

This was a shirt worn at a Trump rally.  This is what Reince, Paul Ryan, Scott Walker, and the rest of the Republican Party have made mainstream.  

How did we get to a point in 2016 that someone would print this up, much less wear it?  Imagine if you switched the word "Journalist" with teacher and wore it to school, or pilots and wore it on a plane, or republicans and wore it to a public venue, or Police, or firefighters, or women etc....

Yet this guy wore this loud and proud at a Donald Trump rally!  

I get the anti establishment feeling running through the country now, but this is not ok.  It should never be OK, there should be some consequences when bringing this message in public.

You can start today by voting AGAINST Donald Trump and anyone who endorses Donald Trump!  

Monday, November 7, 2016

Walworth County State Assembly Endorsements for 2016 Election!

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By Joshua Skolnick

It's way past time we take this thing off the blocks, take the engine out of mothballs, and take 'er for another spin. Stay tuned for another  We are reviving Sustainable Walworth with our 2016 State Assembly endorsements, which the local paid media wouldn't bother to print. And let's not talk falsely now for the hour is getting late - therefore up on our blog. MAKE SURE YOU VOTE TOMORROW.

The quality of the environment in Walworth County is critical to our county’s tourism based economy. Without healthy clear lakes, forests, and rolling farmland for future generations, the county will lose much of its economic base and jobs. From Lake Geneva to the Kettle Moraine, our county has irreplaceable environmental resources that must be protected, and not exploited by a select few  and the politicians who want to enable them.  Clean water, clean air and clean local food benefit everyone and shouldn’t be a partisan issue.
In the not so distant past, protecting the environment was a priority in Wisconsin for everyone including both major political parties. Wisconsin was once an innovator and a pioneer in environmental protection, nurturing such thinkers and doers as John Muir, Aldo Leopold, John Curtis and Gaylord Nelson. Wisconsin had such firsts as holistic scientific wildlife management to protect entire ecosystems, restoring prairie, and heightening ecological awareness through Earth Day. As recently as 2001, a Republican governor, Scott McCallum, signed bipartisan legislation to increase the protection of isolated wetlands, left unprotected under Federal law.
Unfortunately, the environment has now become a partisan issue, thanks to the advent of single party rule in Madison.  Walworth County’s  incumbent state Assembly representatives, Tyler August (District 32) and Amy Loudenbeck (District 31), have backed an agenda that is failing our environment. In recent legislative sessions they  both voted to allow privatization of municipal water supplies, reduce the ability of local governments to protect their unique resources which has allowed developers and resource extractors free reign to exploit sensitive lands, allowed lake bottom dredging on public trust property by private property owners, and finally weakened shoreland zoning protections, which degrades the crown jewels of our local economy, our clear and clean lakes and their unique natural buffers.  Much of this  anti environmental legislation approved by the incumbents was rammed through quickly with little public debate in the course of a week in Madison.  I witnessed that opaque process.
This anti-environmental voting record in the 2016 state legislative session earned both August and Loudenbeck the dubious distinction of a zero rating from the non-partisan Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters.  However we can make a change on  November 8, 2016 to protect our environment by electing Christine Welcher to our 32nd Assembly District and Clinton Anderson to the 31st.  Christine and Clinton understand environmental protection and have been endorsed by state and local environmental groups. Christine is an organic farmer who understands the importance of protecting our food and water supply, and restoring local control so that the units of government closest to the people, can protect local lakes, farms, and forests.  Similarly Clinton realizes that we have a common interest in protecting environmental resources that benefit everybody,  instead of exploited for the gain of out of state resource industries such as Aqua America which benefit from privatizing water supplies for profit, and which provide canned legislation to the incumbents on their behalf.

To learn more here are our candidate's web sites:

Also of interest, great candidates who have some overlap along the boundaries of the county. We endorse all of these folks:

http://andymitchellforassembly.com/  Andy Mitchell (63rd Assembly District Burlington, along the east/northeast edge of Walworth)

http://ameejanus.com/ Amee Janus - along south/east edge of Walworth, 61st Assembly District (Kenosha County)

https://www.donvruwinkforassembly.com/ Don Vruwink, 43rd Assembly, including a bit of the northwest corner of Walworth County and town of Whitewater.

https://www.facebook.com/Brandon-White-for-State-Assembly-33rd-District-459871994219650/Brandon White, Assembly District 33, parts of the extreme northcentral and northeast parts of Walworth County.

The #ALEC apparatchik Greedy One Party rule needs to come to an end in Madison, beginning now.  Good luck tomorrow to all these folks, who are ready to make Wisconsin a pioneer in environmental sustainability once again! 

Lyin' Ryan Joins Trump's Fickle Campaign Strategery

Donald Trump really fumbled the ball when it came to a scheduled campaign rally in Wisconsin on Sunday.

He originally announced that he would be coming to West Allis, WI, a suburb of Milwaukee. It didn't make a lot of sense at the time since Trump had performed so badly in Southeastern Wisconsin that he lost the primary to Ted Cruz.

Then the details came out about the rally and things went from perplexing to downright silly.

He scheduled the rally for 3 pm, a half hour before the Packers game started. Now, anyone that has been to Wisconsin on a Packer Sunday knows that the entire state damn near shuts down for those three and a half hours. The streets and the stores are empty as people go to wherever they plan on being to watch the game.

To make it even more preposterous, Sunday's game was a "gold ticket" game, which means that the game would be attended heavily by Milwaukee season ticket holders. (The Packers used to play three games a year in Milwaukee. The gold ticket package was to keep those season ticket holders and the revenue.)

I was looking forward to seeing the handful of people that would have gone to this last minute rally.

But someone must have tipped Trump's campaign off on how poorly they would do and they abruptly canceled the rally and chose to go to Minnesota instead.

But there's more. There's always more.

Lyin' Paul Ryan, who had disinvited Trump from a rally last month and vowed to never defend or campaign with Trump again because of the infamous "grab them by the p*ssy" tape, apparently was ready to break that promise too:
For the second time in as many months, the possibility of a joint Paul Ryan-Donald Trump campaign appearance was floated and quickly yanked away.

The Republican presidential nominee earlier this week scheduled a Sunday afternoon rally in West Allis, just outside Milwaukee. It was to be Trump's sixth Wisconsin event since he lost the state's primary election to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.

"We don't know if it's scheduled firm or not yet, but I intend to do it if he's here," Ryan told reporters Saturday when asked if he would attend the Trump rally. "Here's the point: we're going from here to Mukwonago to go campaign with Mike Pence. So everybody's schedule is a little bit in flux in these closing moments, but if our nominee comes, we'll campaign with him."
With Trump's viloe personality, insane comments and fickle nature, it is no wonder that he has been consistently behind Hillary Clinton by six or seven points.

With Lyin' Ryan once again living up to his nickname, it would be no small wonder why he might lose his Speaker position after all the poor decisions he's made.

The only thing surprising is why these two characters aren't close friends, with so much in common.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Rience Priebus: Email Scandals? IOKIYAR!

While Reince Priebus was on ABC News “This Week with George Stephanopoulos,” when he wasn't trying to raise the latest Trumped up rumors about Hillary Clinton's alleged email scandal, he said something that was so thick with hypocrisy that it made my hair hurt:
STEPHANOPOULOS: -- the only conclusion we've had from the FBI director so far is that no reasonable person would have prosecuted.

PRIEBUS: Right. That -- that's their conclusion so far. But they're also actively reviewing 650,000 emails. And I can assure you, that we already know that some of them are not duplicative. Six hundred and fifty thousand emails on Anthony Weiner's laptop suddenly show up about a month ago. The investigation is continuing. And, look, I think the American people have serious concerns about it. I would. And I take most people do. And they think that, obviously, this is going to be a big liability for her.
Y'know, it's kind of funny that Priebus is suddenly so seriously concerned about Clinton's alleged email scandal when he didn't bat an eye when his decades long friend, Scott Walker, was declared to be at the heart of a criminal scheme.

Then again, maybe Priebus wasn't concerned since he already already knew about it. After all, he was part of it.

At least now I can understand how Priebus can be such a tool for Trump and the Republicans. He sold his sold and his pride long ago.

Cross posted from Crooks and Liars.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Paul Ryan: Profiles In Cowardice

By Jeff Simpson

Paul Ryan (R- Wall St.) is currently not only Speaker of the House, and a career politician,and has also (mis)represented the 1st Congressional District since 1999.   Mr. Ryan is also respected as a nice guy and Uniter. 

Just ask him:

"What really bothers me the most about politics these days is this notion of identity politics: that we’re going to win an election by dividing people, rather than inspiring people on our common humanity and our common ideals and our common culture on the things that should unify us. We all want to be prosperous. We all want to be healthy. We want everybody to succeed. We want people to reach their potential in their lives. "Now, liberals and conservatives are going to disagree with one another on that. No problem. That’s what this is all about. "So let’s have a battle of ideas. Let’s have a contest of whose ideas are better and why our ideas are better."  Paul Ryan (R-$350 Bottles of win).  
Today, in Mukwonago, WI, Paul Ryan had a chance to put his money where his mouth is.  To show true leadership in a battle of ideas and discuss differing philosophies.   Today Paul Ryan had a great opportunity to rise above the hate.

Today Paul Ryan massively failed when handed that opportunity!

This from the rally:

Yes Paul why did you not answer your supporters question?   Where is Lee Harvey Oswald when you need someone to assassinate the President?   It was nice of the person yelling that question, to yell loud enough so we could all hear him(and no way you did not hear him) over the calls of Bill Clinton is a rapist and put Hillary in jail.

If there is a better 30 seconds that shows exactly why someone is unfit to hold elected office, I have not seen it.   Paul Ryan has proven himself to be a lightweight and a coward and someone in his position, not stepping up in a leadership role, could lead to serious danger, trouble and people being hurt.  

We can stop that on Tuesday by sending Ryan Solen to Congress.    Here is his website and please "like" his facebook page.  

Ryan Solen is a veteran who wants to serve the first Congressional district.   Mr. Solen has the courage, ethics and conviction that we need in Washington DC and that is sorely lacking from the incumbent!  

The Next 72 Hours Are In Your Hands!

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By Jeff Simpson

72 Hours until election day, maybe the biggest election of our lifetime.

The emphasis has been put on the Hillary V Trump race and the Russ Feingold V RoJo race.   Do not get me wrong, both of them are important.  Regardless how you feel about Hillary, Donald Trump is unacceptable anyway you look at it.   As for Senator Feingold, there really is no choice when you compare, intelligence, idea, beliefs and personality.   We can finally rid our state of 6 years of one of the most ridiculous, least intelligent Senators Wisconsin has seen since McCarthy!

However, as important as the top of the ticket is, the bottom of the ballot is where you will find races that will effect your daily lives.  From public education to our roads, to jobs and our clean water and lakes.  Your everyday lives will be guided by decisions made at the Capitol.

That is why the next 72 hours are going to be so important.   Even though the opposition has a racist, misogynist, lunatic on the top of the ticket, and we are living in a state where a $3 tax cut has forced almost every public school district in the state to go to referendum to keep the doors open and the teachers paid, the Democrats prospects do not look good for Tuesday.

From new multi million dollar superPacs, to horrendous GOP candidates and buffoon on the top of the ticket, yet Hillary has a measly lead in Wisconsin.    A poor turnout or a slim win by Hillary on the top of the ticket will not bode well for our down ballot races.

With the electeds and party officials getting platforms and telling us that we can maybe win a seat or two, the Assembly Democratic Campaign Committee using their resources to run horrendous ads, and everyone that needs to be out there driving these wins focusing on Hillary, we can not rely on party leaders and electeds to help.

For Instance, there have been numerous people coming to Wisconsin to speak to rather large crowds about the importance of voting for Hillary and Russ.  While people wait hours to hear them speak, the captive audience could have listened to all of the local electeds and Democrats on the ballot speak to the crowd, yet never are people like Ryan Solen, Khary Penebraker, Jeffrey Wright, Scott Michalak, Chris Taylor, Melissa Sargent, Jonathon Brostoff, Brian Smith, etc.. are asked to speak.  

Why would we pass up such an important opportunity to introduce these people to a whole new audience?  

It is up to us, the calvary is not coming! The party insiders are making sure they have a job next week with someone, the consultants are doling out the same incompetent advice they always have and activists have been minimized because the party wants to reach the right of center voters(ignoring the lesson Bernie Sanders tried to teach us).  

We need to be the change that we want to see, and can deal with the party later.   In these last 72 hours if you have time, pick a candidate and phone bank or do doors for them,   Give them a couple hours before the Packer game(it is at 3:00 PM).

If you are not able to do that, call your friends and family and make sure they vote down ballot.   Explain to them the importance of checks and balances on our government and why we need to flip the Senate and Assembly.   Explain that they can be disgusted with the top of the ticket but be make sure and fill in the bottom of the ticket where there will be a chance to vote out a very bad Representative and probably vote Yes for your public schools.

You will hear take 10 friends to vote but we all know that is not feasible.   Let us get real, make sure ONE friend votes who wouldn't normally vote.  See if someone needs a ride to the polls, make sure your immediately family and neighbors vote.  Send an email to your college roommate and your cousins, to make sure they vote.   Post on social media the importance of voting, the number you were when you voted(if you did not vote early) and who you support.

We have to deal for two years with the choices that are made on Tuesday, let's make sure that we make the right choices!

Our children and our state depend on us!

If you want a video that you can post on social media about the importance of voting, let me recommend this one.